The world of door hardware can be pretty daunting with the tricky technical aspects and terminology! Passage, privacy, and dummy functions – what even are those, right? Even seasoned interior designers and homebuilders can get tripped up in the ordering process.

So whether you’re new to selecting hardware or you’re a self-proclaimed pro in need of a refresher, we’ve got you covered! We’re here to break it all down into simple terms so that everyone can get exactly what they need into their homes.

So what the heck are passage, privacy, and dummy options when it comes to door knobs and levers? Essentially, these are the different door function options that are available when you are ordering your door hardware. Depending on where in your home you plan to install the hardware, you may have differing needs for the function of that handle set.

Passage Function

A passage door knob or lever is a handle set without an internal locking mechanism. The handle set will open and close by simply turning the knob or lever. Typically, a passage set is used on a door that doesn't require privacy, for example; between a living room and a kitchen or closet. Pretty much, they can be used on any interior door in your home where it isn’t necessary that the door lock.



Image Credit: @hommeboys on Instagram. Features our SELECT T-Bar Straight Knurled Lever.

Privacy Function

Privacy handle sets are those that do have a locking mechanism. Meaning that they include a privacy pin. A privacy pin is a pin that engages the privacy feature on the latch from the interior side of the rosette. When you press the privacy pin, the door will be locked and when it is in its default position, the door will be unlocked.

Side note—our privacy sets can be disengaged in an emergency by inserting a narrow object (like the end of a paperclip) into the emergency release hole on the exterior rosette. So in the case that any little ones accidentally lock themselves in, you can reach them, no trouble at all!

Privacy function door knobs and levers are often used on doors that require some privacy such as restrooms, bedrooms, etc.

Image Credit: @veronicavalencia on Instagram. Features our Round Knob.

Dummy Function

Dummy sets are exactly what they sound like –fake props essentially. These sets don’t have a latch, meaning that they are non-functional. They are surface mounted so you can install a dummy set wherever you choose on the door, but they are usually located to match the appearance of nearby operating locks. Dummy knobs and levers are usually placed on closet doors, or the non-functioning side of double doors or French doors.

Dummy knobs and levers are usually placed on closet doors, or the non-functioning side of double doors or French doors.

Design Credit: @francescaalbertazzi Photography: @pineconecamp on Instagram. Features our Ice White Porcelain Knob.

Bonus! Keyed Function:

Apart from passage, privacy, and dummy function handle sets, there are also keyed options that are often used for an added level of security. A keyed handle set is a knob or lever that includes a keyed cylinder that locks from the face of the hardware set instead of requiring a separate deadbolt and bore hole in the door. These are often used on exterior doors in place of an entry set, but they can also be used on any interior door that you prefer to keep locked with a key such as an office or a back door to the home.

Photography by Emtek. Featuring our Helios Key In Lever & Providence Key In Knob.

We hope that we’ve been able to clear things up for everyone. If you’re not sure about a certain term that we used, be sure to check out our handy dandy glossary. To view our selection of passage, privacy, and dummy function knobs and levers, please visit our website at